With issues such as those concerning land use, food production and natural resource management becoming increasingly important to understand in today’s world, the University of Nevada, Reno has launched a new minor in agricultural communication to help students effectively understand and communicate about issues related to agriculture, biotechnology, natural resources and environmental science. The program is meant to complement existing University courses, and to provide a minor degree for students interested in careers in the diverse agricultural and environmental science communication industry, including as journalists, multi-media producers, advocates or public relations professionals.
The minor is offered by the University’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources, and administered by the College’s Department of Agriculture, Veterinary & Rangeland Sciences. It is open to all students attending the University.
“There are a host of topics and issues that we teach about and conduct research on in our College that present communication challenges,” said College Dean Bill Payne. “It’s important that we prepare students to communicate effectively and ethically about these topics of study and research that affect our everyday lives and our future.”
Barry Perryman, chair of the Department, points out that although only about 1% to 1.5% of the U.S. population works in agriculture-related fields, everyone is affected by these fields. He says it’s important to increase understanding of these industries and issues.
“Agriculture-related fields provide food production and security, as well as maintain functioning rangeland ecosystems,” he said. “Our new agricultural communication minor will equip students with the knowledge and skills they need to understand and communicate news and research in these fields through emerging and traditional media sources.”
The minor is designed to help students tackle conveying accurate information and emerging research related to a range of topics, such as rangeland ecology and management, plant science, forage science, horticulture, animal science, veterinary science, nutrition and dietetics, biochemistry, forest ecology, and environmental science. The courses cover reporting and public relations fundamentals, as well as how students can leverage technology to become more effective communicators.
Working with communication professionals and scholars, four new courses were developed for the 18-credit program and serve as its core: Introduction to Agricultural Communication, New & Emerging Media in Agriculture, Reporting & Public Relations in Agriculture, and Communicating Agricultural & Environmental Policy. Students in the program also complete the Introduction to Media and Society course, offered by the University’s Reynolds School of Journalism.
The College developed the minor in consultation with the School of Journalism, and with the Department of Communication Studies. Students can choose from more than 20 courses offered by the College, the School of Journalism and Communication Studies to complete the minor, depending on their career goals.
For more information, contact Perryman at his email or 775-784-1265.